We're huge fans of this particular dessert wine because the folks at Channing Daughters wanted to create something that could go in many different directions. It's equally awesome with a slab of chocolate cake, a slice of strawberry pie, a cheese course or a simple bowl of walnuts. It's also delicious sipped alone, as dessert, especially when paired with a roaring fire.
So what exactly is this magical elixir? Pazzo starts out as 100% Merlot red wine. It's fermented, fortified with a neutral grape spirit to 18% alcohol (stronger than the typical 11-15% of most wines) and then put in barrels, which are exposed to summer heat and winter cold. Over time (seven years total) some of the wine evaporates, "cooks" and oxidizes (aka madeirizes, the process for making Madeira), which slowly adds layers of complex flavor — fig, caramel, orange peel, warm spice, dried fruit. Pretty enticing, right?
We get that dessert wine is not at the top of everyone's shopping list, but if you've never tried a really good one, you owe it to yourself to try this. Just 228 cases of 375ml bottles were produced, so this is even more special (if that's even possible).
tip of the tongue
Pair this with whatever you like to eat after dinner, whether it's a pint of ice cream or a few ripe figs. Serve it at a dinner party and your friends will be in awe.
did you know?
What's in a name? Well, pazzo means "mad" or "crazy" in Italian. Channing Daughters chose it as a nod to the island of Madeira (get it?), and because they felt a little insane attempting a 100% Merlot madeira which, to our knowledge, is the only one made in the United States.
18% alcohol by volume; comes in a 375ml bottle.